NEWS RELEASE: April 2, 2014
Supreme Court Ruling Will Further Drown Out Political Voices of Majority
The Supreme Court’s controversial 5-4 McCutcheon vs FEC Supreme Court ruling today, which expanded the legal limit of political contributions to political candidates and parties, will further drown out the voices of a majority of people in the United States, according to two Ohio-based groups working on fundamental political reform.
Spokespersons for the Move to Amend Ohio Campaign and Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee asserted that the McCutcheon decision, which expanded the aggregate contribution limit from a single individual to candidates and parties from $123,000 to $5.9 million per election cycle, was a blow to people in Ohio and across the nation without money who already have difficulty having their voices heard, needs met and communities helped.
The decision was based on the existing constitutional doctrine that “money equals speech,” established in an earlier 1976 Supreme Court decision, which was also criticized by the political reform advocates.
“Money is not speech, but property. If money equals speech, then those who have the most money have the most speech,” said Greg Coleridge, Director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker social action organization that has worked for democratic reform for nearly two decades. “That’s not a recipe for democracy, but of plutocracy or rule by the wealthy, which is sadly the direction our nation is headed – all the more swiftly following the McCutcheon decision.”
“The fact that a small number of very wealthy political donors felt constrained or restricted by only being able to contribute $123,000 to political candidates and campaigns over an election cycle shows how distorted our political system has become,” said Michael Greenman of the Move to Amend Ohio Campaign, the state affiliate of the national campaign seeking a constitutional amendment to end the doctrines that money equals speech and corporations are persons. “Has more money in our political system coming from fewer people over the last several years translated into a more robust democracy? Just the opposite.”
“The majority of the court’s conclusion that the decision won’t result in political corruption or even the appearance of corruption counters the views of a plurality of citizens in our nation who already believe that our political system is tilted to benefit corporations and the super wealthy,” said Coleridge
“The Citizens United vs FEC 2010 decision along with the McCutcheon decision today reinforces the need for fundamental political reform that would balance the political landscape and help create real democracy. That reform is the Move to Amend Constitutional Amendment, which has been supported by more that 500 communities across the nation through city council resolutions and grassroots citizen initiatives,” said Greenman.
Move to Amend resolutions have been passed in Ohio by the city councils of Athens, Oberlin, Fremont and Barberton. In addition, Move to Amend supporters in the state have passed citizen initiatives in Brecksville, Cleveland Heights, Defiance and Newburgh Heights. Ohio Move to Amend activists are currently working on placing initiatives on the ballots this November in Toledo, Lakewood, Mentor and Newark.
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